Small island states need $2 trillion yearly to address climate change

April 12, 2023 in International

An annual allocation of $2 trillion is required for developing countries to respond to the effects of climate change, says Professor Avinash Persaud, Special Envoy to the Prime Minister (Barbados) for Investment and Financial Services.

He was among recent forum participants during which the collective call was for a global coalition to fund climate mitigation and adaptation.

“That number is bigger than any developing country’s balance sheet. It’s beyond all the philanthropists. It’s a big number. Bridgetown is a system of finance that gets us to $2 trillion a year” he said while speaking recently at The University of the West Indies (UWI) virtual vice-chancellor’s forum on The Bridgetown Initiative.

The Bridgetown Initiative was devised by a group led by Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Persaud which aims to overcome some of the main shortcomings of mobilizing climate finance for small island developing states (SIDS).

The idea was first unveiled by Mottley at COP26 Glasglow and further developed with the help of international academics and civil society during a gathering in July 2022 at Bridgetown, Barbados.

Host of the forum, UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles promised the support of the UWI adding, “The university is honoured to stay supportive of the strategy of economic justice for the people of this region and all of those who have suffered the exploitative journey of colonialism.”

He said this initiative emergent from the economic and political imagination of Prime Minister Mia Mottley is consistent with the finest economic thinking that has emerged out of this region.

“It is consistent with the vision that has been embedded and enrooted in the economics of The UWI, he added.”

Vice-Chancellor Beckles also reflected on the 1944 United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire which convened to create a global foreign exchange system.

The resulting Bretton Woods Agreement and system birthed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

“At that time, as Prime Minister Mottley has argued so eloquently, most of the nations in the world were not at the table. Are the Bretton Woods institutions coming to the rescue of these nations, who through no fault of their own have found themselves at the bottom end of the global recovery process? There is undoubtedly a moral crisis,” Beckles added.

Other participants on the panel included Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, Head, The European Union Delegation to Barbados, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM; Kerrie Symmonds, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Barbados – representing Prime Minister of Barbados, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and Kevin Bender, Director Greening Sovereign Debt, The Nature Conservancy.